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Observations placeholder

Vick's Vaporub and fungal infections



Type of Spiritual Experience


The use of Vick's vaporub to treat fungal infections has been poo-pooed by just about every clever clever site on the Internet.  But they have not done their homework.

It is not the active ingredients that are doing the work but the inactive ingredients.  Vicks  vaporub contains

Active Ingredients (Purpose)

  • Camphor 4.8% (Cough suppressant and topical analgesic)
  • Eucalyptus oil 1.2% (Cough suppressant)
  • Menthol 2.6% (Cough suppressant and topical analgesic)

Inactive Ingredients

  •  Cedarleaf oil, nutmeg oil, special petrolatum, thymol, turpentine oil

Now it is well known in traditional medical circles that cedar leaf extract can help with ringworm for example, as such using it for other sorts of fungal infection seem eminently sensible

I have linked this to the Swamp cedar for convenience, as it is this tree that has the reputation for helping medicinally.

A description of the experience

J Am Board Fam Med. 2011 Jan-Feb;24(1):69-74. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2011.01.100124.  Novel treatment of onychomycosis using over-the-counter mentholated ointment: a clinical case series.  Derby R, Rohal P, Jackson C, Beutler A, Olsen C.  1US Air Force 375th Medical Group, Family Medicine Residency Program, Belleville, IL, USA. Richard.derby-02@scott.af.mil

BACKGROUND:   current medication treatments for onychomycosis have less than full cure-rate efficacy and have the potential for adverse side effects. Vicks VapoRub (The Proctor & Gamble Company) has been advocated in the lay literature as an effective treatment for onychomycosis. This pilot study tested Vicks VapoRub as a safe, cost-effective alternative for treating toenail onychomycosis.

METHODS:   eighteen participants were recruited to use Vicks VapoRub as treatment for onychomycosis. Participants were followed at intervals of 4, 8, 12, 24, 36, and 48 weeks; digital photographs were obtained during initial and follow-up visits. Primary outcome measures were mycological cure at 48 weeks and clinical cure through subjective assessment of appearance and quantifiable change in the area of affected nail by digital photography analysis. Patient satisfaction was a secondary outcome, measured using a single-item questionnaire scored by a 5-point Likert scale.

RESULTS:   fifteen of the 18 participants (83%) showed a positive treatment effect; 5 (27.8%) had a mycological and clinical cure at 48 weeks; 10 (55.6%) had partial clearance, and 3 (16.7%) showed no change. All 18 participants rated their satisfaction with the nail appearance at the end of the study as "satisfied" (n = 9) or "very satisfied" (n = 9).

CONCLUSIONS:   Vicks VapoRub seems to have a positive clinical effect in the treatment  onychomycosis.

PMID: 21209346

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Fungal infection
Yellow nail syndrome


Swamp cedar